It’s not a vibe. Neither a crankbait. Nor a jerkbait either. It’s hard to classify which lure category the North Craft Air Ogre sits in given its unique, multi-style action. One can’t be faulted for thinking it’s a vibe. After all, it does look like one at first glance in the absence of a lip. A closer look at the tow-point will give some clue as to the type of swimming action this lure offers.
Unlike conventional vibes where the tow-point is placed just about off-centre of the lure’s back, the Air Ogre’s tow-point sits just above the nose of the lure. This pivot point coupled with a fat body that pushes plenty of water gives the Air Ogre a very wide and unique tail-wagging action. Interestingly, even with the very same tow-point location and shape, the three different types of Air Ogres (F-Floating, S-Sinking and SLM-Slalom) have different swimming and sinking actions corresponding to their placement of internal weights.
Although it has a shad-like appearance, North Craft’s lure designer, Mr Hironori Kitade initially designed this lure to resemble a crab. The Ogre’s design stemmed from a desire to catch the gigantic Japanese lates (Lates japonicus), called Akame. According to Kitade-san, many anglers have previously tried catching Akame using conventional swimming lures without much success. After studying the Akame’s habits, it was discovered that these shy predators love eating crabs close to the bottom.
This mega-sized Akame was caught by Mr. Suzukawa at Urado Bay, Japan
(photo from North Craft lures Facebook).
Using the Ogre in conjunction with a ‘lift-and-fall’ technique, Kitade-san and his friends soon found their Akame catch rate increase tremendously (check out some of their catches at the North Craft Facebook album!). He attributes this to the unique flapping and falling action of the Ogre that even fishes well in waters with flowing currents or streams. Of course, the Akame is not the only fish the Ogre has since caught. From Seabass, Barramundi to even demersal species such as Snapper, many species have been caught with the multi-variant actions of the North Craft Air Ogre.
How To Work The North Craft Air Ogre
The Air Ogre F (Floating) can work either as a surface or a sub-surface lure. Lift your rod tip high, crank slow and steady and it will create a little wake just behind it, somewhat like a wake bait. Perfect for still or calm water situations in the early morning or late evening. Lower your rod tip, crank steadily and the the floating Air Ogre will swim just below the surface up to a maximum of 0.3 metres. Or you can choose to work it aggressively with a jerk-pause-jerk-pause retrieve. The floating Air Ogre will dive quickly, then float to the surface – an excellent technique for stirring aggressive fish in the shallows.
The Air Ogre S (Sinking) has the same swimming action as the Floating version with the exception that it’s weighted to drop with a fluttering action. Besides being able to fish at variable depths with a straight retrieve, the attractive fluttering action on the drop adds an extra dimension to the ‘lift-and-fall’ technique. Let the lure sink to the desired depth (very often it’s right to the bottom). Lower the rod tip, pick up any slack line then lift the rod tip and bring it down again. This movement will cause the sinking Air Ogre to ‘hop’ off the bottom before fluttering down enticingly (unlike conventional vibes that drop abruptly). How high you want the lure to hop off the bottom will depend on the angle of your lift. This technique is suitable in heavily-fished waters such as catch-and-release fishing ponds where the fishes have been exposed to lures swimming in a linear fashion day in day out. It is worth noting that strikes often occur on the drop.
The Air Ogre SLM (Slalom) swims with a zig-zag, evasive action on a straight retrieve. Pick up a little more speed on the retrieve and the Ogre will slalom a little wider. This unique action is also deadly for fish that are accustomed to conventional lures that swim in a linear fashion. Another typical method to fish the Air Ogre SLM is the lift and fall method off the bottom. While the Sinking Air Ogre (S) falls with a fluttering action, the Air Ogre SLM falls in a spiraling fashion. This is also a unique, non-conventional action that can trigger reaction bites from curious but wary fish. Do maintain some line tension (not a lot, just very lightly!) on the fall to prevent the trebles from fouling the mainline or leader.
The above mentioned actions are merely the basics and according to Kitade-san, there can be many more ways one can work the Air Ogre. It’s really up to one’s imagination how best to work this versatile lure to trigger a response from fish either in the wild or in a commercial fishing pond. You’ll be really surprised at how far these things can be cast too. Lure castability is an important feature as you can cover more water. This is even more crucial when stalking very spooky fish from a distance. We were pretty surprised that even the Floating Ogre could cast a mile (figuratively, of course!)!
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The North Craft Air Ogre is available in three sizes: 58mm (new!), 70mm and 85mm and comes in three different versions: Floating (F), Sinking (S) and Slalom (SLM).
Check them out at your local North Craft dealer or at 2fishtackle.com!